Fixing My Brain

Are we stuck with the brains that we’re born with? – or is the brain really like a highly intelligent muscle, able to change itself through rigorous and specific exercises no matter how old we are?

FIXING MY BRAIN is a documentary which explores the mysteries of how we learn through the dramatic story of Barbara Arrowsmith and the courageous journey of three students in their first year at her school.

Barbara Arrowsmith was born with a “broken brain” Although her brilliant memory had propelled her though a graduate degree, she still couldn’t read a clock, tell right from left, or understand conversations in “real time”. Exhausted by the stress of hiding her weaknesses, Barbara contemplated suicide.

But she was ferociously determined to discover why her brain was “broken”. With extraordinary diligence, she fused several different strands of brain science and using herself as a guinea pig – she fixed her own brain.

Putting herself through a “brain boot camp” for twelve hours a day for many months, using her self-created exercises to stimulate the weak areas of her brain, she achieved extraordinary results. Finally, she was able to tell time, understand logic and understand conversations in “real time”.

When she tried to share her success with educators, they branded her a charlatan – because at that time, (late 70s) people believed that the brain was hard-wired and the brain’s abilities could not be changed. So Barbara opened her own school to help students with learning dysfunctions.

And although the Arrowsmith method focuses on students with learning dysfunctions, it is applicable to everyone. No brain is “perfect” in every area, and even brilliant minds have difficulty with directions or remembering faces. It’s a subject to which everyone at any age can relate.

Barbara’s story is only one small part of the Arrowsmith story – but through it, the audience will discover the heart and soul of an extraordinary character -- a woman driven to achieve and discover in spite of her severe learning disabilities. Motivated by hope and despair and a spirit of innovation and daring, Barbara never gave up on herself – or on the idea that her discovery could save learning-disabled children from the shame and suffering she had experienced as one of them.

Her training system is still the only one of its kind in the world and her role as a visionary leader in education is only now being acknowledged.

As a documentary, FIXING MY BRAIN works on many levels at once --just as our brains do. It challenges our preconceptions of who we are, how we learn, and how we teach our children. And at its widest angle, this is a documentary that opens up the exhilarating possibility that we truly can change our destiny by learning how to change the pathways of our brain.


2008 Feature-length documentary - 52 mins

Producer: Vanessa Dylyn

Writer/Director: Christina Pochmursky

Distribution (Canada - Home Video):

Carla Bruce
Filmoption International Inc.
514-931-6180 x. 257